The Impending Loss of the Last Caribou on Lake Superior’s North Shore
Posted on: February 9, 2021
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A group of scientists and researchers are interested in conserving the few remaining mainland Caribou along the north shore of Lake Superior. Gordon Eason, Brian McLaren, Christian Schroeder, Serge Couturier, and Marcel Pellegrini want to bring the attention of the last caribou along the north shore of Lake Superior. This past year was full of news coverage, mainly on the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe. But this group of five wants to highlight a story that is going under the radar.

Caribou are a fascinating species that make their way into pop culture, hello Rudolph! But the story they want to highlight is not Rudolph’s red nose, it is the threatened extinction status of the Lake Superior Caribou. As of right now, the group estimates that there are currently fewer than 10 of them left on the mainland! Across Canada, the southern range of Caribou populations are diminishing. Gordon says that “losing the Caribou is more than an ecological loss, it is a social and cultural loss”.

Gordon gives an example of how the Caribou can benefit industries like forestry, says “sustainable management to re-attain the native forest composition and age structure will benefit caribou AND will also provide a sustainable harvest of the desired conifer trees for the forest industry.  The present forest has been overharvested resulting in younger and smaller trees, and the tree composition has been shifted towards less desirable hardwoods.  This has negatively affected both caribou and the forest industry.”.

First Nations communities like Michipicoten First Nation, who have relied on the caribou for their livelihood also want a say in the conversation around caribou restoration on their traditional lands.

Gordon has started a website where he writes posts about the Caribou. We have also published the Caribou Corner series to help spread the word.

Stay tuned for more stories about these magnificent creatures in a flotsam and jetsam section in upcoming newsletters.

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